Gay Meikle mother of Dakota Meikle (16yrs FA)
Dakota was always a clumsy child. Falling over, tripping and dropping things were the norm in our household. We used to joke about it until I noticed she was starting to lose balance when standing still for short periods. Countless trips to many doctors, referrals to get her ears checked, cat scans and empty diagnoses, but mother’s intuition told me that something wasn’t right, kept pushing me to get some answers. Finally we found a brilliant GP who nailed it.
9 months of neurologist appointments and finally with a genetic test, September 20th, 2011 brought a change to our lives forever.
First there was relief for finally having an answer, then it was all about research, trying to find more information on FA, reaching out to organisations like FAN & FARA (A) for support and then finally trying to help our daughter and other FA’ers in the only way that we could (at this stage) and that was fundraising for research to find a cure.
I will never forget the first week of our diagnoses and receiving a phone call from Mike Dwyer, President of FARA (A) to offer us support and answer any questions that we might have. He was truly wonderful!! Not long after that, I met Cathy and Michael from FAN and soon after, Terry and the other members of FAN. All these people have been instrumental in supporting and educating us.
July this year we organised our first ‘Dakota’s Trail’ where we did a 3 km walk from the Redcliffe Jetty to Scarborough Beach, encouraging as many family, friends and community members to walk, ride or wheel with us. We arrived at the destination to a wonderful concert put on by eight brilliant bands, a sausage sizzle courtesy of Redcliffe City Rotary and many other activities. We canvassed this event for only three months prior and raised just under $14,000. We are looking forward to next year’s event.
Things are still very new for us and there have been probably more emotional upheavals than physical at this stage. As most FA families know, it creates many emotions and ripples throughout the entire family. What I have learnt so far is that there are some wonderful people out there going through the same journey and the support is there.
As Dakota will tell you, my new favourite word is ‘Hope’! And we will keep hoping until we find a cure!